Biodiversity in our daily lives

 

The importance of biodiversity

People depend on biodiversity in their daily lives, in ways that are not always apparent nor appreciated and yet biodiversity produces goods and services important for both present and future generations:

  • Biodiversity provides ecosystem services

Humanity’s well-being and prosperity depends on healthy ecosystems and the services they supply. To name a few : plants counteract climate change by capturing CO2; wetlands purify water flowing into lakes, streams etc.; forests soak up rains, reducing the risk of floods; worms turn wastes into life-supporting soil; fruits, vegetables and other crops benefit from pollinators (bees, birds…); microbes in the ocean produce half of the oxygen we breathe...

  • Biodiversity offers goods essential to human life

Biodiversity is crucial to human healthcare as many medicines are derived from plant extracts and other biological resources. It also provides varied food supplies as humans use at least 40,000 species of plants and animals for their daily food consumption. In addition, many people around the world still depend on natural resources for most of their needs like energy, housing, infrastructures and clothing.

 

 

  • Biodiversity also contributes to recreational, cultural, scientific and engineering services.

It is instrumental to maintain our beautiful landscapes for instance. Moreover, scientific and popular knowledge emerge from observing and studying nature. Learning about the components of biodiversity is valuable in stimulating technological innovation and in learning about human biology and ecology for instance.

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1.6 billion people rely on forests for their livelihoods

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7000

plant species are consumed by humans as food

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17%

of plant species are used for medical purposes

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Of some 100 crop species which provide 90% of food worldwide, 71 are bee-pollinated

 

Biodiversity is declining sharply

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The rate of biodiversity loss is between 1.000 and 10.000 times higher than the natural extinction rate, a speed unprecedented in Earth’s history leading certain people to believe we are experiencing a sixth major extinction of biological diversity.

Human beings by their activities, are the most dangerous cause of destruction of the Earth’s biodiversity (deforestation, over population, pollution, global warming...). The most critical or endangered eco-regions on Earth can be found where most of the human and economic activities are taking place.

Dramatic biodiversity loss would eventually lead to the degradation of a broad range of services if ecosystems are pushed beyond certain thresholds and would have major implications for human well-being putting their health and livelihoods at risk. The poor and indigenous communities would have to face the earliest and most severe impacts of such changes, but ultimately the society as a whole would suffer.  Preventing further human-induced biodiversity loss is therefore the biggest chalenge for the years to come and this is to that end that UEBT promotes ethical sourcing of biodiversity.

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75%

of agricultural crop variety has been lost

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30%

of living species will be extinct by 2050

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35 millions acres

of native forest disappear each year

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70%

of the world’s poor live in rural areas and depend directly on biodiversity for their survival and well-being.